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Sisters and Brothers: the hot chicken of our hearts.

Sisters and Brothers

Nashville’s signature hot chicken—brined for 48 hours, fried in cast iron, and daubed in spice-saturated crimson lard—has arrived in Seattle. Moreover, it’s landed at an unassuming bar with a wide-angle view of Mount Rainier and the regular rumble of airplanes landing across the street at Boeing Field. Chicken comes naked, mild, hot, or insane; even the mild will make things tingle. The rest of the small menu has way more finesse than you’d expect at a place with video game tables and a black velvet unicorn painting on the wall: smoked gouda mac and cheese, deviled eggs, a wedge salad with dressing and bacon both made in house.

Ezell's Famous Chicken

Several family-owned chicken shacks across the region prove that you don’t need fancy digs—heck, you don’t even need tables—to dazzle the High Priestess of Comfort Food, Oprah Winfrey. (Yup, there’s her portrait with Ezell up on the wall.) The crunchy fried chicken is dazzling enough—moist, not greasy (okay…maybe a little greasy)—especially when you order it spicy, along with a few fried livers and gizzards, throw in some cole slaw…and how about just one slice of sweet potato pie? Best to make sure it’s all there, as friendly servers invariably miss something. “Honey,” replied one, double-checking an order, “there’s a whole lotta love in that bag.”

Sunset Fried Chicken Sandwiches

Oh god, the difference a thigh makes. When Monica Dimas set up a takeout window in the corner of Rachel’s Ginger Beer on 12th Avenue in May 2016, she imported the fried chicken sandwich obsession recently sweeping New York and Los Angeles. Sometimes toppings like crunchy cabbage slaw and pickles camouflage sad, dry, overfried chicken, but not here: Dimas fries thighs, not breasts. Each sandwich contains two pieces, threatening escape from the bun with each bite, but the juicy meat and crispy crust make the extra mess and effort totally worthwhile. The menu balances Southern overtures (fried green tomatoes, hush puppies, pimento cheese) with a beautiful wedge salad and the decidedly nontraditional General Tso sandwich, a spin-off from Dimas’s Neon Taco.

Nate's Wings and Waffles

A trio of partners headlined by basketballer Nate Robinson have consolidated their chicken and waffle venture to a single student-friendly location near Seattle U. Let the street-style Seattle skyline mural, array of Robinson jerseys, and regulation basketball hoop be your first hint: This isn’t a house of Southern classics. Choose either wings or strips, both sold by the pound; they’re largely vehicles for all the sauces, from classics like teriyaki and buffalo to coconut jalapeño lime and sweet honey chili. Waffles come in flavors like green onion and melted cheese—definitely not just underpinnings for the chicken.

Bok a Bok Fried Chicken

What’s with all the people milling around outside this spare White Center storefront? They’ve come for Korean-style fried chicken—in sandwiches, rice bowls, and served straight up with a compulsory pile of napkins. In this context Korean doesn’t imply spicy (that’s what the sauces are for), but rather a delicate, shattering crust. It’s more akin to a Pringle, in the best possible way. Chef Brian O’Connor is a veteran of Skillet Diner and Roux, as evidenced by Bok a Bok’s perfect biscuits. But the rest of the counter-service menu that debuted in early June nods hard to the East, like a chicken sandwich with yuzu aioli and charred Korean chilies alongside the requisite spears of pickle or kimchi mac and cheese.

Harry's Chicken Joint

As you may have guessed, the house specialty here is fried chicken, specifically a thigh and drumstick, still attached. These meaty behemoths get brined overnight, smoked, dredged twice, and fried. The hulking result looks like something you would brandish at a medieval feast and has more skin than a really good Game of Thrones episode. The spoons and forks are of the disposable/compostable variety, but Harry’s knows to hand out actual metal knives when it comes time to attack these mammoth chicken plates.

Fat's Chicken and Waffles

A thread of Catfish Corner’s Southern legacy continues on at this storied Central District corner via fried chicken atop old-fashioned thin waffles, the kind with tiny squares. Chef Patrick Dours coaxes heroic amounts of personality from boneless, skinless chicken breasts; his tricks include a combo buttermilk–pickle juice brine and an elaborate dredge-and-chill process to keep the crust from falling off the minute it encounters your knife. Seasoning is sufficient for grown-ups, mellow enough for the many (many) kids in the room. Replacing a landmark of a neighborhood’s African American heritage is a tricky business. Sure, owner Marcus Lalario—of Li’l Woody’s and 95 Slide—brought in some hip midcentury benches and a busy brunch service. But you can eat well for $15, and service is incredibly hospitable: promising signs of a new neighborhood institution.

Heaven Sent Fried Chicken

When Ezell Stephens cut loose from Ezell’s Fried Chicken, he opened the nearly identical Heaven Sent, both home to spicy and original chicken, sweet yeasty rolls, and peach cobbler. Right now the performance edge goes to Heaven, which offers a crunchier crust bursting into juicier, more consistently greaseless meat. Heaven Sent also features the widest selection of sides: all the usuals from Ezell’s plus collards, peppery mac and cheese, and—oh yes—ice cream versions of the famous peach cobbler and sweet potato pie.

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95 Slide

Happy Hour, Sports Bar, Super Bowl Sunday 722 E Pike St

Editor’s Pick

Rachel’s Ginger Beer

Brewery, Late Night Multiple Locations

Editor’s Pick

Heaven Sent Fried Chicken

$ American/New American Multiple Locations

When Ezell Stephens cut loose from Ezell’s Fried Chicken, he opened the nearly identical Heaven Sent, both home to spicy and original chicken, sweet yeasty r...

Editor’s Pick

Fat's Chicken and Waffles

$$ American/New American, Southern/Creole/Cajun 2726 E Cherry St.

A thread of Catfish Corner’s Southern legacy continues on at this storied Central District corner via fried chicken atop old-fashioned thin waffles, the kind...

Editor’s Pick

Harry's Chicken Joint

$ Southern/Creole/Cajun 6032 California Ave SW

As you may have guessed, the house specialty here is fried chicken, specifically a thigh and drumstick, still attached. These meaty behemoths get brined over...

Editor’s Pick

Bok a Bok Fried Chicken

$ Korean 1521 SW 98th St, Ste D

What’s with all the people milling around outside this spare White Center storefront? They’ve come for Korean-style fried chicken—in sandwiches, rice bowls, ...

Editor’s Pick

Nate's Wings and Waffles

$ American/New American 1224 E Jefferson St

A trio of partners headlined by basketballer Nate Robinson have consolidated their chicken and waffle venture to a single student-friendly location near Seat...

Editor’s Pick

Sunset Fried Chicken Sandwiches

$ American/New American 1610 12th Ave

Oh god, the difference a thigh makes. When Monica Dimas set up a takeout window in the corner of Rachel’s Ginger Beer on 12th Avenue in May 2016, she importe...

Editor’s Pick

Ezell's Famous Chicken

$ Southern/Creole/Cajun Multiple Locations

Several family-owned chicken shacks across the region prove that you don't need fancy digs—heck, you don't even need tables—to dazzle the High Priestess of C...

Editor’s Pick

Sisters and Brothers

$$ American/New American, Southern/Creole/Cajun 1128 South Albro Place

Nashville’s signature hot chicken—brined for 48 hours, fried in cast iron, and daubed in spice-saturated crimson lard—has arrived in Seattle. Moreover, it’s ...